Mercedes names new U.S. sales head amid inventory shortage, BMW rivalry


Senol Bayrak, a 17-year Daimler veteran who has done tours of duty in China and Germany, will now lead sales and product management in the U.S.

Bayrak, 43, takes over as vice president of sales and product management at Mercedes-Benz USA, effective Nov. 1. He replaces Adam Chamberlain, who will leave the company after 12 years to pursue opportunities outside parent Daimler, the company said in a statement.

In his most recent role, Bayrak served in Stuttgart as the director of product management for SUV and electric models, as well as market intelligence and competitor analysis.

He will have overall responsibility for Mercedes’ U.S. sales, volume planning, distribution operations and product management.

He arrives as the automaker faces tight inventories and product disruptions due to industrywide supply chain challenges.

The global semiconductor shortage has forced Mercedes-Benz to scale back production of V-8 engines for the 2022 model year. Except for S 580 and S 580 Maybach sedans, no 2022 models will be available with a V-8 engine.

On the sales front, Bayrak faces a resurgent rival in BMW.

At the midyear mark, BMW had outsold Mercedes-Benz by 7,348 vehicles, a reversal from a year earlier, when Mercedes was leading the luxury segment with a 16,795-vehicle lead over No. 2 BMW at the time.

BMW ended up with the U.S. luxury crown in 2019 and 2020 after Mercedes had a three-year run atop the rankings.

Bayrak is one of a number of new senior leaders at Mercedes-Benz USA. In the past year, the changes have included a new CEO and CFO.

The “instability at the top is concerning to the dealer network as the industry deals with the effects of the pandemic and then the second gut punch with the semiconductors,” Jeff Aiosa, dealer principal at Mercedes-Benz of New London in Connecticut, told Automotive News.

“I’m optimistic that they’re going to work their way through it,” Aiosa said. “But it’s been a lot over a long duration of time.”

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